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5 Career Resolutions to Avoid in 2024

There’s no doubt that New Year’s resolutions have become somewhat of a custom over the years. For the majority of us, at least one career resolution will make its way onto our list, such as getting a promotion.

While setting long-term goals is often an effective way of working towards self-improvement, oftentimes in our enthusiasm and self-determination, we find ourselves setting unrealistic and unattainable resolutions, which ultimately end up doing nothing for our personal or professional development. 

In fact, research has found that a whopping 94% of us drop the ball on our resolutions within just two months of setting them, and much of that is attributed to the feasibility of the goals we’ve set.  

Below, however, we discuss some career resolutions you should steer clear of this year to help keep you motivated and on track with your development.

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1) Stop Stressing at Work 

For many of us, entering this new year, we are determined to safeguard and improve our mental health as much as possible. From avoiding potentially stressful situations, to making time for self-care, we are all starting to prioritise our health and are becoming mindful of anything that’s causing us distress. 

However, setting a resolution to no longer be stressed at work, although it may sound like an ideal scenario, it’s something that is far out of your own control. Things come up everyday, no matter how prepared and organised you are, so vouching to never be stressed is not feasible and will only lead to you feeling disappointed and punishing yourself. 

Rather, try and focus on balance and self-compassion whenever you feel stressed or make a mistake. Write down a list of the things you feel are causing you stress at that given moment. Oftentimes when we see something physically in front of us it helps us rationalise our thoughts and concerns, which, most times, makes the problem appear smaller than we initially made it out to be. 

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2) Quitting Your Current Job 

It’s no secret that we’re currently experiencing a very uncertain period in the world of work, with a global economic crisis making the business - and every other - landscape extremely unpredictable.

That said, if you’ve made a career resolution that you’ll quit your job and move on to something new, it might be a good idea to hold off until you have a new role secured, especially if you need time to upskill. Inflation is only getting worse and rates are only going to get higher, so having a steady income at this point is more important than ever. 

If you feel dissatisfied with your work environment or feel your mental health is being affected, however, try having an open and unfiltered conversation with your manager, or your organisation’s HR manager. Express your concerns and honest thoughts about your future in the company, to find ways to cope with the pressure and deal with any toxicity you may be experiencing. 

Of course, you can make the move and change jobs within your industry, if that’s what you truly desire, but be methodical about it and make sure to plan it out. After all, when setting career resolutions, it’s key to balance both ambition and realism. The last thing you want is to quit without any opportunities on the horizon and remain unemployed for a substantial period of time. In this economy, it’s likely to only add to your stress and contribute to poor mental health. 

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3) Focusing Too Much on a Promotion 

Your career resolutions likely focus on aspects of your life you want to improve (duh, right?). For many, this might mean a strong focus on professional development and promotion, which may include:

  • a title change, 
  • more responsibilities, and
  • a pay rise

However, due to the uncertainty and challenging economy, many organisations are making cuts to their budgets and employee base, as well as pausing any expansion plans. This inevitably means that opportunities for advancement have become sparse for those looking to get ahead in these turbulent times. 

To this end, it might be best to consider resolutions that are more within your control and don't depend on someone else’s judgement to be achieved. Although you may feel like you deserve a raise, and you likely have every right to feel that way, individuals with higher authority may not feel the same or have the capacity to meet your demands. 

Ultimately, resolutions that rely heavily on factors outwith your own control are often the ones that get derailed. Instead, focus more on the steps you can take to earn that promotion until the time is right, like working on your continuous professional development (CPD).

In other words, concentrate on becoming the employee that’s the most ‘worthy’ of a promotion. This will shift your focus on things that are in your control, such as taking on a new qualification or enhancing your soft skills to prepare you for new opportunities. 

You can also have a discussion with your manager about the next steps you could take to get you the best chance at a promotion, allowing you to create a realistic and attainable plan towards reaching this specific milestone.

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4) To be More 'Bold' and 'Confident' 

One of the most common workplace resolutions individuals make is to be more confident or bold in their professional roles, whether that involves:

  • Improving their delegation skills
  • Learning to confidently say no to added work and responsibilities, or 
  • Establishing a better work-life balance

Although this is a great goal to have, especially if you feel like a pushover at work or that your passivity undermines your position, promising yourself to be more bold and confident is exactly that, a promise. 

The issue with this resolution is that it’s far too open-ended with no specific or measurable goals to work towards. There aren’t any set guidelines as to how to achieve confidence and without such metrics you’ll only end up feeling frustrated and disappointed, as you won’t be able to see your improvement. 

Alternatively, try and make your resolution more specific with regards to which areas you want to be more bold and exhibit confidence in, and operationalise them into smaller, actionable steps. For example, if you want to gain more confidence to contribute more of your ideas in team meetings, try having a quick brainstorm beforehand and come up with 5-10 ideas you can present in the meeting. 

Or, if you’re a natural people pleaser and want to be more bold when resisting extra responsibilities to those of your role, practice setting expectations with your manager and colleagues. Think of polite ways of turning others down, rather than saying outright “no”, or offer an alternative timeline, allowing you to fit it into your schedule. 

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5) Rushing That Career Change

A year isn’t as long of a time as you may think it is, especially when you hope within that time frame to completely switch careers and start over from the very beginning.

In fact, research conducted by Indeed found that, on average, it takes around 11 months to consider and plan out a career change. It doesn’t simply happen overnight. So, putting that pressure on yourself to achieve a successful career change within a year is like setting yourself up for potential disappointment - before even taking the first step! We say this because realistically many things can happen over a year that may hinder a hasty career switch. 

Rather than being overly ambitious with this resolution, break it down to more realistic and attainable milestones that will contribute towards your career change. For a start, make a plan that outlines the steps you must take towards successfully switching careers, which may include: 

  • Research into your field of interest
  • Consider a career advisor meeting
  • Undertaking any relevant courses or qualifications
  • Working on developing the appropriate skills 
  • Seek out potential job prospects, salaries and day-to-day duties
  • Have discussions with established professionals in your files of interest
  • Consider pursuing freelance or volunteer opportunities to get a feel of the profession

Making a career switch inevitably requires you to invest time, effort and money into retraining and preparing yourself for it. It’s not a decision you make on impulse, so make sure you are logical with regards to your motivations behind the career switch. 

Also, once you’ve been in a role for a substantial amount of time, reprogramming yourself to do something completely different takes time. For that reason, make sure you allow yourself the grace to get used to it and remember to pace yourself. 

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How To Set Realistic Goals 

Before even starting to set out your New Year’s resolutions for 2024, the very first thing you must do is make sure that all your resolutions are realistic and feasible. Don’t set goals that are overly ambitious and unrealistic.

There’s nothing wrong with aiming high, but setting unattainable goals is like setting yourself up for failure, which will only lead to you feeling frustrated and disappointed once you’ve reached the end of 2024 and realise that you haven’t managed to achieve them. 

Alternatively, set realistic and achievable SMART objectives, that align with your skills, experience, and the stage of your career you’re currently at. Through this you’ll be able to create a detailed plan of action, outlining all the steps you must take to reach those objectives. 

Not only that, but SMART objectives also help keep you accountable and on track with your progress, by having regular check-ins and smaller milestones you can work towards before reaching your end goal.


Throughout the remaining year you’ll likely encounter many situations that will challenge your commitment to your career resolutions and make them seem unachievable. 

If that becomes the case, don’t fret and simply get back on track by reminding yourself that resolutions don’t have to become a success within 365 days. If you fall behind, that’s not a failure, it’s simply a hindrance to what can otherwise be a success if you put your mind to it.  

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